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From the Hoss’s Mouth 8/31/06

Hoss brings his reviews to the table again and walks away holding all the cards. Wait, that means no one else can play huh? Hmmm, he walks away holding all of our wallets. And our hearts.

Click the link to find out what you should and shouldn’t be reading. 


Full Reviews:

X-Factor #10
Writer: Peter David
Art: Renato Arlem with help from Roy Allen Martinez

I picked this book as the full review not just because it was my favorite book this week but also because this series is consistently good and manages to get better with each passing issue. With X-Factor, Peter David understands how to make a story arc fit together so that each issue builds on its predecessor without slowing down or losing the reader along the way. Leaving you with a large encompassing story that will maintain your interest and immediately grab your attention each time a new issue hits the stands. As each new detail presents itself and subplots fall away the underlying plot remains just as exciting as it was when it began. It’s the continued focus of this book, with its pacing and direction that makes it a standout title among the many mutant stories already populating your LCS.

This issue finds our mutant detectives continuing their exploits into Singularity investigations. Through no effort of their own the last piece they need to complete their case finds them for once, but as you’ll find out, having all the answers drop into your lab isn’t going to make life any easier. Jamie Madrox finds himself, well not exactly himself, romantically involved with not one but two of the female leads in this story. It’s déjà vu all over again for poor Jamie and the readers, but honestly rehashing an earlier plot device particularly with one of the women had to happen sooner or later given their history with this sort of thing, but hey it makes the story more exciting and sets up what is going to be a huge ordeal once all parties figure out what’s going on. Poor Jamie just can’t win. Lil’ Deus Layla, who due to some sort of miracle work by PAD has become a favorite character of mine, has but a few lines in this story but as always they’re golden. Rictor makes up a small subplot continuing the Quicksilver story that adds a large deal of information about what exactly Pietro is doing and what exactly are the motives behind his madness, and I due stress the word madness yet the story will have you wondering if it truly is or not. If you followed and enjoyed “Son of M” that story has carried over here and is not to be missed. Finally we learn a bit more about both Mr. Tryp and Guido this issue, the latter being a bit of a shocker shoved into a story already full of surprises.

There’s just a touch of action in one part and the majority of the story is dialogue. You’re not going to be disappointed though as the story has quite a few huge reveals and new subplots develop that will excite anyone just as much as a splash page punch-out. PAD has managed to keep me locked in with a book that proudly sits on top of my read pile each and every week it comes out.

The art by Arlem can’t be spoken of so fondly. It’s plain, colored badly (though that’s not his fault) and just boring. The last page itself is bit confusing as although I got the gist of what happened, I’m not at all sure how it was pulled off. On top of that it’s a simple scene that should be easy enough to convey yet isn’t. Basically I miss Ryan Sook. The flashback art by Martinez is a bit more my style and a whole lot sharper, but those pages are brief and can’t make up for the rest of the art. This is a minor point though as a new artist is scheduled to pop up on #13 that will hopefully bring the art up to the level of the story.

Verdict: Not a good idea to jump in fresh so go get those back issues, but if you’ve already been following or want to start reading a great new series you can’t go wrong with X-Factor.

Quick Reviews:

Young Avengers & Runaways #2: Narrowly edging out Teen Titans as a choice for my Quick Reviews, YAR (heh) suffered less inane dialogue and gave me a better guest star for my money, that guest being Noh-Varr. Marvel Boy makes his long awaited return in a brief but impressive fashion that this series is obviously going to build on. As for the rest of the book, the Runaways and Young Avengers have the usual superhero misunderstanding that leads to an altercation and then finally ends with huggles and biscuits all around. Ok maybe not the biscuits but you get the idea; it’s a standard plot for this sort of first time meetings and is handled well enough. The two sides learn they both have a lot more in common than just being teenaged superheroes and right as everything gets peachy, a huge shock ending happens in a near predictable fashion yet I doubt anyone’s going to guess the exact specifics. The art on this book is sharp, clear, and precise. Moreover the coloring matches it for every panel making the total picture a fantastic one.

Verdict: It’s a Civil War tie-in featuring a teenage superhero team-up and the return of one of Grant Morrison’s finer creations. It’s got a somewhat standard plot but still manages to stay fresh and keep you interested. Definitely worth a look and maybe a purchase.

The Trials of Shazam #1: Not a bad first issue at all. I was very curious as to how the transitions of Captain Marvel will play out and how DC plans on reexamining his role in the DCU; they’ve just barely scratched the surface with this one but it does show a lot of potential. Captain Marvel starts out this story just like any other except now he’s taken on double duty as guardian of the Rock of Eternity. He’s also found out that after the events of Days of Vengeance the magical nature of the DCU has been drastically altered as guest star Zatanna can attest. Freddy and Mary are left out of this one, but as the ending reveals it won’t be long before they’re both going to be sucked right in whether they want to or not. There’s quite a bit of action, drama, and monstrous frogs here giving the reader a taste of everything. The art on this book is the best part. Howard Porter does a terrific job and no one draws imposing the way Porter draws imposing. He has a way of giving every character an impressive feel and pose that makes every panel exciting and fun.

Verdict: If you’ve ever had any interest in this character then pick this book up. If you’ve ever enjoyed a story of magic and monsters then pick this book up. Or if you’ve just wanted to keep tabs on the changes to one DC’s most magical families then pick this book up.

Cable & Deadpool #31: The usual humor you expect from this title is still here and this book makes the most development towards Civil War this week even going so far as to drop a pretty big spoiler about Civil War #4. Nicieza’s never one to run out of gags and this issue’s got some goods ones. You’ll see Deadpool’s masterful attempts at taking on the rebellion forces, escaping duct tape trappings, and trying to find a bathroom in the white house. Cable continues to keep Wade from running away with the story and serves to advance the underlying arc as he confronts the big man behind the registration act. Ever wondered if the politicians in the Marvel Universe have the interests of the people at heart? Well wonder no longer. Despite all the humor Deadpool can muster this book is a serious one. So how’s the art? It’s good, nothing to tell your friends about but it holds its own and is never distracting, confusing, or cluttered. The dichotomy of Cable and Deadpool continues to impress and for those Civil War fanatics this is the book to grab this week.

Verdict: Funny, very funny with all the action and intrigue you’d want in a tie-in for this year’s blockbuster event.

This week’s loser:

Action Comics #842: Not a bad book but a boring one. Say what you want but personally I’ve had enough alien Collector/Preserver/Auctioneer/Home Shopping Network overlord stories to last me for a few more years which is why I don’t care to see another one here and unlike other rehash attempts this one makes no effort to try anything new. X alien or cosmic group comes to earth, steals Y item or individual, gets thwarted by Z superhero. The end. With all the relaunching, reawakening, and reimagining of the DCU I find it hard to believe that this was the best they could do with one of DC’s most iconic heroes. A filler story in a filler arc. Call me crazy but I’ll pass.

Verdict: Strictly for the die-hard Supes’ fans.

Little Hoss on the Prairie: Out of the 12 odd books I bought this week there weren’t a lot of standout titles. 52, Shulkie, & X-Factor were the best. YA & Runaways, Cable & Deadpool, Shazam, and X-Men were all pretty good. I kind of had fun with Teen Titans and Black Panther. All the rest were just bleh. For solid recommendations stick with X-Factor, and if you’ve got a little more to spend pick up both of the Civil War tie-ins, 52, She-Hulk, and it’s not going to hurt you to check out Shazam and X-Men either. Avoid Action Comics, Superman/Batman, and the been there done that “Battle for Bludhaven” spin off Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. Black Panther and Teen Titans are merely OK.

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